No. 10 Rutgers 58, Cincinnati 47
PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP)
Rutgers was determined not to get off to another slow start.
The Scarlet Knights stormed out to an early lead and never looked back in a 58-47 victory over Cincinnati on Saturday.
''One thing about this team, we do learn from our previous games,'' said forward April Sykes, who had 11 points and 11 rebounds. ''That fast start is what helped us control the game.''
Rutgers opened leads of 9-0 and 11-2 when Cincinnati went the first 5:01 without a field goal. The Scarlet Knights then went the next 4:42 without a point but the Bearcats could only get within four.
With the score 13-9, Rutgers used an 11-0 run to open its biggest lead of the half at 24-12. The Scarlet Knights lead by 11 at the half.
Khadijah Rushdan, who had nine points and seven rebounds, said the fast start was a result of a lesson learned against Syracuse.
''You could definitely say that,'' she said. ''It's always important to make sure you come out of the gate strong. Being in synch and playing together, we did a great job of that today.''
Monique Oliver added 15 points for the Scarlet Knights (13-2, 2-0 Big East),
who are off to their best start since going 17-2 in 2007-08.
Bjonee Reaves had 15 points for the Bearcats (9-7, 0-3), who dropped to 0-8 all-time against Rutgers. Dayeesha Hollins, Cincinnati's top scorer with a 15.0 average, was limited to nine points on 3 of 12 shooting.
In being held to its lowest scoring output of the season, the Bearcats shot just 34 percent (18 for 53) and 22.6 percent (7 for 31) from 3-point range. Cincinnati committed 16 turnovers.
Trailing by 11, Cincinnati scored the first six points of the second half to pull to 26-21. Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer then went with four freshmen and Sykes. The lineup produced six straight points and began a 12-0 run that gave the Knights a 38-21 advantage with 12:20 remaining.
''I was just trying to speed it up,'' Stringer said. ''It just seemed like we were going too slow. I think I feel the rhythm of the team, and for whatever reason we seemed to be a dime late and a dollar short.
''We were just executing a little too slow, maybe because didn't recognize what was going on fast enough. But the idea was to bring the energy up.''
Rutgers opened its biggest lead at 41-23 and maintained a double-digit advantage for most of the second half. The closest the Bearcats got was 55-47 with 58 seconds left, as they became the ninth opponent held under 50 by the Knights this season.
''They get after you for 40 minutes,'' Bearcats coach Jamelle Elliott said. ''They swarm you, they're aggressive, they want to go for steals and they don't let up. You really have to handle that first surge of pressure.''
Both teams struggled offensively in the half as each committed 10 turnovers. Cincinnati shot just 21.7 percent (5 for 23) and Rutgers hit 39.1 percent (9 for 23).
The Bearcats' 15 points marked their lowest scoring first half of the season against a Rutgers defense ranked 33rd nationally in scoring defense with a 54.2 percent average.
Cincinnati, which started 6-0 for the first time in 10 seasons, has lost seven of its last 10 games.